When George Steinbrenner died in July 2010, his most famous asset — the New York Yankees — was left in the care of his two sons Hal and Hank. Many Yankee fans wondered how this might affect baseball’s most successful franchise and whether or not the team would be sold. It turned out that while nobody could replace the man known as “the boss,” his sons continued to spend top dollar to keep the team competitive, although without their father’s theatrics, passion or visibility. They might have had to sell the team if their father had not died in 2010, the year of the federal estate tax lapse — dying that year saved Steinbrenner’s sons an estimated $500 million in estate taxes.
Any business big or small should have a succession plan in place
Operating any successful business takes time, work, money and, of course, a passion for the business. If you spent many years building a company, you want to leave it in good hands when you retire or pass away. Many family-owned businesses have been passed from generation to generation. There are also situations where the family is not interested nor equipped to continue the business. A successful company or corporation left in the wrong hands can quickly become a nightmare and a liability. This is why it is so important to consider business succession as part of your estate plan.
Planning For Business Succession
There are several mechanisms that can be used to plan the succession of your business, including:
- A trust may include provisions allowing the ownership shares to either be sold or placed in a trust for the benefit of the family, while allowing the business partners and key employees to continue running the company.
- A buy-sell agreement can designate who will succeed in ownership and control of the business in the event of your death or disability.
- The advantage of placing the business in a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is that it allows for the transfer of ownership within the family while minimizing the tax consequences.
Our experienced Staten Island estate planning attorneys can help you create a business succession plan that can insure that your business continues to be a source of pride and revenue to your family members.